What is Extra digits and accessory auricles?

Due to the complexity of the embryological process that forms a baby in the womb, often minor errors occur that leave remnants of the process. These are most commonly extra fingers, toes or ear ‘nubbins’ (bumps).

What are the non-surgical and surgical options available?

It is not always necessary to surgically remove these embryological remnants and occasionally they fall off naturally, especially if their attachment to a baby is small – small sutures can be used to facilitate this. If interventions are performed before 3-4 months of age, often a ‘feed and wrap’ method is used, whereby a baby is given local anaesthetic and is then fed their milk to induce sleep, after which the surgery is performed. Above this age babies start to get stronger and wriggle too much for a surgical procedure. In these cases a general anaesthetic is advised and for safety reasons it is best to wait until the child is over the age of one.

How long do the results last for?

The results last for life and recurrence does not occur.

What are the risks?

Any scar can become unfavourable, especially if healing is complicated or prolonged. Hypertrophic or keloid scars are more common in certain skin types, but almost never present in babies; whilst infection and bleeding are risks of any surgery. Scars can become tender where previously they were not and there is always the small risk of making things worse or of not meeting expectations.

What are the success rates?

These are usually excellent.

How much does the surgery cost?

The indicative prices below include the surgical fee, any anaesthetic used and the associated fees from the consultant administering this, in addition to the hospital fee and all tests and follow up. An accurate breakdown and a detailed quote will be given following the initial consultation.

From £250 for the application of ligature
From £1,000 for the removal of accessory ‘nubbins’

What general advice is there?

Cosmetic abnormalities in children are normally best addressed before they become aware of the problem or when the child vocalises a concern with the affected area, depending on the problem. Scar management advice is essential to optimise results and is beneficial for at least a year following surgery.